Sunday, 13 April 2014

Back to Work Soon BUT I'm GLAD TO BE UNHAPPY!

Hi my lovely strangers! How's it going? Long time no speak eh? Can you believe I have but a few weeks before I tread the boards of work once more?! Yes my maternity leave is coming to an end. And much as I never thought I’d say this, but I’m really sad about it! But I am happy that I am sad. Let me explain.

 I know that it’s the NORMAL reaction. The NORMAL reaction to being ripped away from being with your children 24/7 to shove your nose to the grindstone IS sadness! But. I am not normal. I am someone who finds childcare hard. I mean, of COURSE it’s hard but I think I find it unusually hard. And stressful.  I am very impatient, I have a terrible temper and an increasingly short tolerance for crying (baby or pre-schooler). And a pre-disposition to anxiety when things get too much. And I definitely can’t cope with the unpredictability of childcare. I am far too much of a control freak. I can’t stand the disorder.

Of course, the fact that I am these things and I know these things makes me feel terrible. I feel like the worst mum in the world. I feel pathetic. I can’t cope with my children crying! I can’t cope with not knowing how my day will pan out! I can’t cope with my child saying no to me! So why did I have children?????

I didn’t know that I wasn’t going to be the best mum in the world before I had kids. I actually really arrogantly assumed I would love it and be brilliant at it! I LOVE kids. I have a brother who is 11 years younger than me and from the minute he was born I LOVED looking after him. I loved feeding him, I loved playing with him, I loved reading him stories at night. I loved going to his playgroup as a toddler and playing with his little friends (that sounds so wrong! You know what I mean!). I loved babysitting for my mum’s friends. And my first job was as a childminder. In fact, I would go on to love looking after my friends kids too. I have more photos of my friend Laura’s children than I do of my own! (so far and to be fair, it has been 14 years of photo taking!).
Me (the biggest one) aged 13, my bro in the hat and his buddies.

SO. Lo and behold when I had my first child and I actually wasn’t a natural, amazing mum, it was a HUGE shock to me.  Ok so I had a very rough first pregnancy, then my arrogance of ignoring pre-birth breast feeding advice bit me on the butt when it transpired that actually I was rubbish at it, it DIDN’T “just come naturally” like I’d expected and in the end (after weeks of trying), my child just wasn’t getting anything from me, despite feeding for hours and hours and hours with bleeding nipples and sheets of tears. And even though in my memory the first few months after Gus was born were a lovely if somewhat hazy time, by 4 months I developed crippling anxiety. I was staggering under the weight of responsibility of keeping this little dude alive and I just couldn’t cope. I was desperate to get back to work. To get some normality in my life again. And I’ve always felt massive shame about that. I felt so jealous of people who actively wanted to stay at home longer and be with their babies. Being alone with my baby scared the hell out of me. I feel so guilty even typing that. I would count the hours til my husband got home and hand Gus over to him the minute he walked in the door. That was actually the case on my days alone with him up until he was really quite old I think, maybe 18 months or so?

Gus wasn’t even a difficult baby. Far from it. At 4 months he went through a tough phase because he was starving and we didn’t really understand until I started to lose my mind that actually he just wanted to be weaned. But apart from that he was lovely.  He got into a routine early on and slept well in between.  So I can’t even claim that that was a factor in my inability to cope.

There will be people reading this who just won’t understand at all. They won’t get what I found so hard. They will be thinking, “you just get on with it. Why didn’t you just get on with it”. I don’t know why. I wish I could have “just got on with it”.

I think the main thing I couldn’t cope with was just that the time was no longer my own. Which is so selfish! Of course it’s not my own! It’s completely in the hands of a tiny megalomaniac! And I CHOSE for that to happen!

SOOOOOO the second time around? I really willed for it to be different this time. For me to actually ENJOY my children’s company uninterrupted. To thrive and become the stereotypical "perfect" mummy that every child who has the patience of a saint, bakes and paints and sings with a lovely soft sheen over everything! (Thanks INSTAGRAM!)  So that my son especially has happy memories of the time his mummy looked after him full time before he went to big school.
Who would not miss these little blighters?!

And we have painted and sung and baked....

But of course having a newborn and a 3.5 yr old was never going to be easy! Especially when the 3.5 yr old has pin-balled from terrible 2’s to threeanger to regressed potty training and full on screaming Noooooooooooooooooo’sssssssssss!!!!!!!

The fear of second time around being as scary as the first however, WAS unfounded. It’s much more physical work for sure but the scary, overwhelming feeling wasn’t there. I am obviously at peace with having the responsibility of other humans now! Hooray! And even though Joni took a loooooong time to get into a routine which didn’t involve screaming for hours in the evening and no sleep in the day (!!!!) it’s much easier emotionally. I did actually have a wobble at 17 weeks where I thought I was going to develop the same anxiety I had with Gus. But I took myself straight off to see my counsellor and nipped it in the bud. Ok I sound flippant here, but she helped me see that I was having meta-anxiety....where you worry about worrying! Overthinking, much?!

But what also helped was that I arranged for me to go back to work 2 months earlier than planned. I had a stretch of months and months ahead of me and I just didn’t feel confident enough to think I could cope, especially when I thought I was going spend everyday fighting off panic attacks whilst trying to do the 2 mile round trip nursery school run in between Joni feeds and Gus tantrums.

Now that date is looming though I am actually quite sad about it. I am only going back 3 days a week so I still get 2 whole days with them to myself but it will be quite surreal to go back to mundane office work rather than having my babies make me laugh my head or shout very loudly! And even more so that Gus will be going to school full time in September so I really will not have this time with him again. And I LOVE his company. He’s such a dude!

But the fact that I am feeling sad makes me happy because it makes me feel normal. Like I am a normal mum! A mum that loves spending time with her kids even though I don’t ALWAYS love spending time with them. Cue perfect opportunity to post this lovely song from the Mamas & the Papas.....

Just to show that I have had a lovely time along with the tantrums and tears, I am going to do a picture post of some of the activities we got up to over my maternity leave in my next post.

Right, this was an uber rambler so if you’re still awake I applaud you! One thing a baby with a more regular routine means is more blog posts...huzzah! So I’ll come back with the funny’s soon! This one was a bit serious for me and I’m not sure I’m that comfortable with it. ;) 

Ciao for now tho bloggites! Mwah, big kiss! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Monday, 24 March 2014

What Joni Wore Today BSP part the 7th

Hey bloggites! Here she is! All 5 months of her! Looking like a mini-me in her posing skillz! She knows how to work a camera angle and she's not even a half yet! *proud*

Monday, 24 February 2014

What Joni Wore Today (BSP) Part 6.

Moooorning loves! 

Her dress this morning, comes courtesy of Mamas & Papas (again!) via Aunty Mari Fflur! 

Have a Faaaaaaaaaabulous day! Love the Helicopters! Mwah! XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The Mummy Tag

I’ve been tagged by the lovely Lara from Brilliant opportunity to be nosy and find out more about my fellow bloggers!

1. Are you a Stay at Home Mum or a Working Mum?
I’m on maternity leave until July so am at home at the moment but I will be going back very part time in July (2 days /week) then back to normal (4 days/ wk) in September when Gus goes to big school. (Where did THOSE years go????)
2. Would you have it any other way?
Honestly...there are days when I wish I could go back to work right NOW. I struggle with motherhood sometimes. I find it hard work, sometimes boring and sometimes anxiety-attack inducing (not actually exaggerating here!).  But then other days I love it and it feels surreal that I will ever go back to do an office-based job! When it’s good, it’s really good, when it’s bad, it’s horrid. And by horrid....I’m talking about the anxiety. Of course it’s hard looking after 1+ kids and even if they are having a complete meltdown and you’re screaming your head off at them (oh, just me?!) that’s absolute BLISS in comparison to 10 seconds of panic feeling. If I could know that I was never going to have anxiety ever again then I think I would be ok with never going back to work.
3. Do you co-sleep?
Not at night (i.e. yes for the very occasional nap!). I actually don’t share a bed with my husband which sooo many people find shocking! I think they think our marriage is doomed!!!!!! But we’re both light sleepers and keep each other awake. So we have cwtch times before bed every night instead and then he goes off to sleep in the room Joni sleeps in. He can sleep thru her snorts and snuffles whereas I would be awake all night. Obviously if she’s waking up for a feed then we take it in turns. I can still hear her wake from the other room. But not in the same bed. That was a long-winded answer wasn’t it?!
4. What is your one must-have item for your baby?
Baby swing! I actually panic if it runs out of batteries! We got it when Gus was a baby and it actually gave me freedom to go for a wee without worrying that he’d cry if I put him down. Joni’s getting a bit wise to it now tho and if she thinks she’s being dumped in there whilst I go off and do something more interesting (like make Gus some lunch, wipe his bum or do some other essential job) then she kicks off! If Gus is pratting around in front of her tho, she’s quite entertained.

5. How many kids do you plan on having?
Originally, Emlyn and I discussed this when we’d been together a matter of weeks! We SO met each other at the right time in our lives! J I said 6 and he said 4. We’re actually (since having them!) settling on 2. I had NO idea how much emotional energy you’d need, let alone physical! Plus I am too old. If I was younger and we had more money I might consider having another one. But I am very, very happy with my two lovely babies.
6. Date nights? How often do you have them? 
Not many. We’re a bit rubbish at it. We went out for our anniversary last year whilst my mum had Gus overnight and we ended up coming straight home after the restaurant and snuggling up on the sofa. We’re more than happy just to watch a DVD with wine & pizza. So long as our babies are asleep. Which does not seem to be happening anytime soon.....(hence how long it’s taken me to write this blog post....DAYS)
7. Your child’s favourite show?
Joni obviously is too young....Gus is currently obsessed with Wreck-It Ralph. Like 100-times-a-day obsessed. (If we’d let him watch it that often). Usually I use it as entertainment whilst I rush around getting ready for the school run and in the evening when we want him to calm the f*** down before bed. :D
8. Name one thing you brought before you had the baby and never ended up using?
Baby sling/carrier. I got rid of Gus’s because it wrecked my back to use it...then I borrowed a couple again for Joni but haven’t really used them. I carry too much weight on my blubby body anyway and any more is too much for my frail spine (!!!!!!!!!!!). I do a lot of sitting with them on my lap! Ahem, I’m really aware that I sound like an awful mum....swing being my fav thing and sling being my worst! It’s like “anything to get this thing off-of me!!!!” The opposite of attachment parenting?! God, my kids are going to hate me....
9. Your child’s favourite food?
Gus, just like his Momma, loves the pizza! And anything sweet of course. Joni is just experiencing baby porridge and enjoying muchly.
10. How many cars does your family have?
One. Shamefully, I can’t drive. I know, I know. It’s a disgrace and boy am I regretting it now.
11. Weight gain, before pregnancy, during, after and now?
Well I am a massive heifer anyways but in my first pregnancy I actually lost weight. I was sick from day one to the very last day. 2 weeks after giving birth I was 10lbs lighter than the start of the pregnancy. However, when you start off at 40000 stone, this isn’t much. ;) With Joni, I put on about 2 stone but I am now about 9/10lbs away from getting back to my original weight. I didn’t mind that I didn’t lose weight in the last pregnancy because anything was better than perma-puke!
12. Dream holiday with your kids?
Um, something beachy? I went to a grotty Spanish resort as a kid and I LOVED it. Me and my brother spent hours building castles, snorkelling and rock pooling whilst my mum read books, drank sangria and my dad wind surfed. I’d love that for Gus and Joni. Perhaps whilst they are so little just somewhere hot with kiddies pools and a night time babysitting service!
13. Dream holiday without your kids?
Pre-kids....hence the lack of grey hairs and wrinkles!
Well I LOVE travelling and despite doing a fair bit, I still have hundreds of places I want to go. Even tho I love a beachy, do nothing holiday, I love love love finding out about new cultures. My husband really wants to go to India tho so that’ll be first on the list when we’ve retired and the kids are in Uni! J
14. How has your life changed since having kids?
Hugely. I think because I’ve had kids so late (I’m 37 now and was 34 when I had Gus) I was very much used to being independent. Even being with my husband and not out partying til 5-6am every weekend was a shock to my system. I was very immature when I met him! But I wasn’t happy (before I met him!). The partying was filling a hole. Despite the shock of responsibility of looking after kiddies 24/7 I absolutely feel complete now. And so, so lucky to have met my husband. Ugh, am I making you sick?!
15. Finish the sentence “It makes heart melt when…”
Gus does this noise, when he’s half asleep now but more so when he was a toddler, which is a half’s really difficult to describe. It’s the cutest thing in the world. And I heard Joni do it the other god, I go gooey just thinking about it. Right, you’re defo puking now aren’t you?!
16. Where do you shop for your kids?
If I am spoiling them: Jojo Maman Bebe/Mamas & Papas/Pumpkin Patch. If it’s everyday stuff then George (Asda) Tesco & Mothercare. Oh and sometimes H&M if I get into town or remember to look online!
17. Favourite make-up and skincare products?
I also have awful skin (like Lara said in her response to this). I have the worst of all worlds...dry, sensitive, spotty, and rosacea. I find Laura Mercier really good for skin make up; Dermalogica for cleansers/scrubs and moisturisers; Max Factor 2000 calorie lash which has served me well since I was 16 (!) despite trying many many more expensive brands; Urban Decay for eyeliner; Bourgeois for shadow; Boots No7 for long lasting lips & Nails inc for Nail Varnish.
18. Huggies or Pampers?
Again, as with Lara, Asdas' have been fab. A friend told me they were good nappies before I had Gus. I was arrogant and ignored her advice, thinking that they couldn’t possibly be better than the expensive branded Pampers and Huggies....I was SO wrong. He’d be wet thru with both. Asdas’ nappies won, hands down.
19. Have you always wanted kids?
Yes! I feel really, really lucky I’ve been able to have them.
20. Best part of being a mum?
The hugs/cwtches, crying with laughter at their silliness, learning new things from them every day, having 2 little beings that we made! And in completely separate sense...I love that it feels like you’ve joined this little exclusive club of shared experience with other parents. I find myself discussing all manner of really intimate anatomical details with other parents in really random places (library, doctor’s surgery etc) which would NEVER happen if we hadn’t had kids. And most of my readers know, I LOVE to overshare.....

Hope I haven’t completely bored you to death. I am tagging the following lovely mummies…

Hope you enjoy looking at their responses too! Laters, Gators! XXXXXXXXXX

Sunday, 16 February 2014

What Joni Wore Today (BSP) Part 5

Hi guys!

Little bit of an absence. Had a bit of the colly wobbles (as my Pops calls it. aka Anxiety...ugh). Anyway, trying to push thru it....Here's lovely lady and her cheesy brother in this weeks outfit of the week! Courtesy of my cousin Elle, thank you Elle! (Note the massive looking feet!). 

And thanks to my parents recent trip to Che Guevara.....(pulling a TERRIBLE face)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

One of those "Look! I'm a great mum! I do MESSY PLAY with my KID!" Posts. (Ooblek).

SO, I have become one of THOSE Mums! One of those mums who DOES things with her kids! Hooray! After drunkenly pawing over Pinterest crafty-keep-yer-kids-busy posts I've bitten the bullet and decided to attempt to do something fun/crafty/sciencey with my child and, of course, two of his friends so their mum ALSO thinks I am brilliant. Rather than let him destroy the house whilst I mainline coffee and scour Facebook, intermittently shoving Joni's dummy back in her mouth when she makes the slightest squeak. And obviously the activity I have chosen is a) easy to do b) quite interesting to play with c) colourful (i'm all about the colours) and d) easy. Did I mention the easiness? 

Ellen & Chloe excited. Gus...trepidous (not really).

Chlo-Bo getting stuck in.
It's OOBLEK. Yeah, i know, what the actual?! Ooblek is a name taken from a Dr Suess book for a slimey substance. What it really is: Ooblek the Non-Newtonian Fluid.. It's a viscous substance that has really strange properties that is fascinating for kids and adults a like. 

What you'll need:

Every surface covered if you're anal and don't like mess. 
Cornflour (often referred to as Cornstarch in online recipes. Over here (UK) we call it Cornflour). 
A big Bowl
Some more bowls
Food Colouring OR Cheapy water soluble kiddies paint. (Like the ones in the pic from ELC).

Directions: get the bowls, put some cornflour in each. Dribble in some watered down paint into each and mix thoroughly until you have a slimy, fairly thick consistency. Get the kids to stick their hands in it, squish it, roll it, splatter it all over the table, their face, their hair, the chairs, the floor etc (ok the last few are not recommended but may happen...). Then what WE decided to do was stick it in one big bowl (washing up bowl) and mix it all up together. It was fun and weird and slimey. It entertained them for aaaaaages and made a colossal mess. 

Then to clean up....just use warm water. But don't pour the ooblek down the drain. Best to either keep it in an airtight container for another day or let it dry out and chuck it in the bin. 

It actually rocked and now I am excited to try something else fun and messy. Yey! 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

What Joni Wore Today (BSP) Part 4.

Hiya loves! Here's the cute as a button, button. 

Both outfits courtesy of Mamas & Papas!